Preps Talk

CSN Preps Boys Basketball Power Rankings: Week 13

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CSN Preps Boys Basketball Power Rankings: Week 13

The regular season has officially come to a close, and it is playoff time for all of boys basketball in the state of Illinois this week.

Simeon remains the top team in the area, and they're followed up by Class 3A local favorites in Fenwick and Morgan Park. Glenbard West is the only new team this week, but it's a familiar face that has been in the @CSNPreps Power Rankings before.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter this week @CSNPreps for IHSA playoff updates.

1. Simeon (1) (24-3, 9-1) — The Wolverines enter the Class 4A Bloom Sectional as the No. 1 seed, and they'll play either Reavis or T.F. South in their opener on Tuesday at T.F. North.

2. Fenwick (2) (25-2, 9-0) — Fenwick finishes the season with the best record in school history after beating No. 23 Hillcrest. The Friars are at home for their Class 3A regional and have a favorable path to the sectional at Westinghouse.

3. Morgan Park (3) (22-3, 9-1) — Morgan Park will try to make it back to Peoria for the fourth consecutive season as one of the favorites in Class 3A. The Mustangs open at Julian this week.

4. Kenwood (4) (19-4, 9-1) — Coming off of a strong stretch in the city tournament, Kenwood will look to make a run as the No. 2 seed in the Riverside-Brookfield sectional in Class 4A.

5. Curie (5) (21-5, 8-2) — Could we see another Kenwood-Curie game? That could happen if No. 1 seed Curie and No. 2 seed Kenwood meet in the Riverside-Brookfield sectional in Class 4A.

6. St. Joseph (6) (20-8. 8-1) — The Chargers could be in for a tough test if they advance past their regional and play North Lawndale in the sectional semifinal. St. Joseph enters Class 3A as the No. 3 seed in the Westinghouse Sectional as it tries to repeat as state champion.

7. Bogan (7) (17-7, 6-4) — Bogan is the No. 2 seed in the Class 3A St. Laurence sectional. Bogan and Morgan Park could meet again for a sectional title at St. Laurence, and this great Red-South rivalry could add another chapter.

8. Benet (8) (25-3, 8-1) — The East Aurora Sectional's No. 1 seed is Benet, which will play either Addison Trail or Willowbrook on Tuesday at home as it hosts the regional.

9. North Lawndale (9) (20-7, 8-2) — North Lawndale is in a tough Class 3A sectional in which it could face St. Joseph in the sectional semifinal at Westinghouse. The Phoenix are the No. 2 seed in the sectional.

10. Riverside-Brookfield (10) (21-5, 12-0) — Riverside-Brookfield never picked up its signature win over an elite team during the regular season, but it will likely get tested in the Class 4A sectional that is in its home gym. The Bulldogs are the No. 3 seed in the sectional and could face Proviso East for a regional title at St. Ignatius.

11. Marian Catholic (11) (21-5, 8-1) — The Spartans are playing great ball down the stretch, and they're the No. 4 seed in the very tough Class 4A Bloom Sectional. They have home-court advantage in the regional and could face Richards and Marist before a potential game against Simeon in the sectional semifinals.

12. Homewood-Flossmoor (13) (21-5, 13-1) — The Vikings are the No. 3 seed in that same Bloom Sectional and could match up with No. 2 seed Thornton in the sectional semifinals. Homewood-Flossmoor starts in the Oak Lawn Regional where it could face Crete-Monee for the regional title.

13. Whitney Young (14) (17-8, 8-2) — The Dolphins enter the Riverside-Brookfield Sectional in Class 4A as the No. 4 seed, and they are at home in the regional. Whitney Young could face De La Salle for the regional title.

14. Naperville North (15) (22-4, 15-1) — The Huskies are the No. 3 seed in the East Aurora Sectional and are one of the hottest teams entering the tournament. They could be dangerous in Class 4A.

15. Orr (16) (18-3, 10-0) — Orr took home a regional title in Class 2A and moves onto sectional play where it goes on the road to face DePaul Prep in the sectional semifinals. The Spartans are a favorite to make it to Peoria.

16. Vocational (17) (19-8, 4-6) — Vocational is playing in a difficult Class 3A St. Laurence Sectional where it is the No. 3 seed and could face Bogan in the sectional semiifinal.

17. Thornton (18) (22-3, 13-1) — The No. 2 seed in the Class 4A Bloom Sectional, Thornton could face some tough tests along the way from No. 3 seed Homewood-Flossmoor in the sectional semifinals.

18. Deerfield (19) (25-3, 9-1) — Deerfield picked up a big win over Evanston in the CSL Championship game and heads in to the Class 4A Glenbrook South Sectional as the No. 2 seed.

19. Evanston (12) (21-5, 9-1) — Evanston lost to Deerfield, but its is the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A Glenbrook South Sectional. The Wildkits have struggled recently and need to regain their form.

20. Hyde Park (20) (18-7, 7-3) — Hyde Park is the host of its own regional as part of the Class 3A St. Laurence sectional. They could face Mount Carmel in the regional title game.

21. Notre Dame (22) (21-6, 6-3) — Notre Dame needed overtime to survive Marian Central during the week, but it's a dangerous No. 4 seed in the Glenbrook South sectional in Class 4A. Notre Dame could be the type of team to get upset early or make a deep run.

22. Stevenson (23) (22-6, 10-2) — The Patriots have been a very good team lately, and they're going to be a factor as the No. 3 seed in the Class 4A Glenbrook South sectional.

23. Hillcrest (21) (20-6, 13-0) — Hillcrest fell to Fenwick during the week, but it has a favorable draw as the No. 1 seed in the Streator Sectional in Class 3A.

24. Prairie Ridge (25) (23-3, 12-0) — Dominating performance for Prairie Ridge in a win over Jacobs for the Fox Valley Championship. It's a No. 1 seed in the Crystal Lake South regional.

25. Glenbard West (NR) (23-3, 10-2) — Glenbard West looked great in the West Suburban Championship win over Downers South. It enters the Class 4A East Aurora sectional as the No. 2 seed.

Beware of the Attack of the Lower Seeds

Beware of the Attack of the Lower Seeds

With the upcoming IHSA football playoff pairings announcement on Saturday night, here are some teams with modest win-loss records who opponents probably wouldn’t want to see in the early rounds of the postseason.

Loyola Academy (5-3): The Ramblers have struggled this season. But head coach John Holocek has, once again, led his team to the state playoff field. So what gives? Loyola has been inconsistent on offense and has turned the football over way too often. The team has also been dealing with various injuries. But the defense (minus a 35-3 loss to Brother Rice) has generally played well this season. If the Ramblers can clean up the turnovers and find a way to get their offense back in a rhythm, this team can undoubtedly surprise some teams along the way in Class 8A. 

Neuqua Valley (5-3): The Wildcats and head coach Bill Ellinghaus have dropped three tight games this season including a last possession, 21-14 decision to DuPage Valley Conference champion Naperville Central two weeks ago. If the Wildcats can continue to get steady production from a balanced offense, led by RB Will Cheviliar and QB John Gronowski, the defense is capable of keeping Neuqua Valley in every game this postseason.

Aurora Christian (5-3): Coach Dave Beebe’s Eagles have lost to three playoff-bound teams this season with a combined 21-3 record (IC Prep, St. Francis and Bishop McNamara). They have a potent spread-passing attack led by sophomore QB Ethan Hampton. Aurora Christian is also slated to wind up in the Class 1A bracket on pairings night. Their dynamic offense and passing game in general could be a tough matchup for opponents in, what usually is, Class 1A North bracket with teams that generally run the ball.

Barrington (5-3): The Broncos, under head coach Joe Sanchez, have also been dealing with a rash of mid-season injuries; that said, it looks like Barrington is getting healthy at the right time. Junior QB Tommy Fitzpatrick is back from injury and is a key catalyst for any Barrington postseason run. Fitzpatrick has weapons in junior WR EJ Darlington and senior RB Michael Curran. 

Lake Zurich (5-3): The Bears made a starting quarterback change last week as Jack Moses took the reins. He promptly led the Bears to a 42-0 win over Mundelein. If the Bears can limit turnovers and continue to get strong production from their offense, the L-Z defense is more than capable of making life very difficult for any higher seeds that they could draw in the 7A state playoff field. 

Edwardsville (5-3): The Tigers hit a rough patch starting the season with a 1-3 record. But they currently boast a four-game winnings streak heading into Friday night’s tilt at Collinsville. Edwardsville is led by senior QB Kendall Abdur Rahman (Notre Dame) and is a gamebreaker every time he touches the football. Sophomore RB Justin Johnson (and the team in general) possesses a ton of speed. There are athletes and playmakers on both sides of the football. 

Here are some more lower seeds who could wreak havoc:

Providence Catholic (5-3): If the Celtics can get their running game going, beware. 

Raby (5-3): The Raiders could be a handful in 4A.

St. Charles East (4-4): The Saints’ power-option game is always tough to defend. 

Joliet Catholic (4-4): IF the Hilltoppers can beat Notre Dame on Friday, they could be a very tough out in 5A.

Crystal Lake South (5-3): A huge offensive line leads the way for the Gators. 

Zion-Benton (4-4): The Zee-Bees can put as much talent on the field than most of their opponents. 

Lemont (4-4): Needs a win Friday over rival Oak Forest. If the offense can keep the chains moving, the Indians’ defense can do the rest. 

Crete-Monee (5-3): They are the Southland conference champs. Their first two losses in 2018? Lincoln-Way East (8-0) and Brother Rice (8-0).

Thornton (4-4): The Wildcats will need to upset Lincoln Way Central Friday. Thornton always has talent.

NBC Sports Chicago to air "IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show" on October 20

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NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago to air "IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show" on October 20

Bloomington, IL/Chicago, IL (October 17, 2018) -- The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Football Playoff Pairing Show returns to NBC Sports Chicago for its eighth season in 2018. NBC Sports Chicago – THE Home of the #AuthenticFan – will air the show live on NBC Sports Chicago+ on Saturday, October 20 from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM CT. Viewers are urged to visit NBC Sports Chicago’s “Channel Finder” page (NBCSportsChicago.com/channel-finder) for exact NBC Sports Chicago+ channel locations in their area.

The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show, which will reveal the brackets and first round match-ups of all 256 playoff qualifiers across eight classes, can also be viewed via Live stream beginning at 8:00 PM on Saturday at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive, on Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago), and will also be accessible for viewing to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers via the brand new MyTeams by NBC Sports app (NOTE: MyTeams is available on iOS and Android devices, at no cost, to fans anywhere in the U.S. and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store).

"The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show' continues to be one of the most highly-anticipated events in the state of Illinois and we couldn't be prouder to once again showcase two-straight hours of live, interactive coverage across all platforms on Saturday night," said Kevin Cross, Vice President of Content for NBC Sports Chicago.  

NBC Sports Chicago anchor Leila Rahimi hosts the show and will be joined by a panel of experts on-set, including long-time IHSA TV announcer Dave Bernhard and Illinois high school football bracketologist Steve Soucie. IHSA TV veteran Camron Smith will breakdown each class with media members from around the state, including NBC Sports Chicago prep football expert “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran. Viewers are encouraged to interact with the show and ask questions to be answered during the program by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #IHSAbrackets

The program will once again feature highlights, coaches interviews and media analysis from all over the state. In addition, NBC Sports Chicago will be gathering teams & fan reaction moments throughout the “Land of Lincoln” on Saturday from numerous school playoff pairing parties taking place that evening.

“This is one of the most anticipated nights of the year on the IHSA calendar,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “Student-athletes, coaches and communities around the state have put their hearts into the last nine weeks, and for 256 teams, it’s an amazing chance to celebrate their accomplishments, while looking ahead to the path to the IHSA Football State Finals. We appreciate the time and effort that our partners at NBC Sports Chicago put into making this night so special.”

The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show kicks off NBC Sports Chicago’s playoff coverage of IHSA Football, which culminates with all eight state title games being televised and streamed by NBC Sports Chicago on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23-24), live from Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign.